Barcelona are in South Africa to play Mamelodi Sundowns in the Mandela Cup.

South Africa has been awash with Lionel Messi fever for the past three days as the Argentina star made a fleeting visit with his Barcelona team.

The five-time World Player of the Year made a cameo appearance for Barca as they beat local champions Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1.

Wednesday’s friendly, the second Barcelona have played against Sundowns after one in 2007, was played at Soccer City in Johannesburg to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary.

Messi had been struck down by a bout of flu and only came on for the final 20 minutes; his appearance preceded by chants for him to be brought on, with a roof-lifting roar following when he got off the bench to warm up.

He had not appeared until kick-off, wrapped up against the chilly air as he took his place on the bench, but television pictures showed some female fans in tears as the Spanish champions came on to warm up.

Although it was but a fleeting appearance from Messi, some 75,000 fans got a glimpse of the star quality that has made him into a world superstar, and afterwards he poses for a myriad of pictures as the Sundowns players mobbed him for selfies.

The hastily arranged friendly match, which earned Barcelona three million euros from billionaire Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe, was ostensibly to mark 100 years since the birth of Mandela.

The trophy that was given to Barcelona after their 3-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in honour of Nelson Mandela’s centenary

However, other than a bust of the former South African president serving as a trophy, handed to Barcelona skipper Andres Iniesta afterwards, there was little reference to the statesman as Messi fever took hold.

Those in the stadium were unconcerned that an African Champions League game was postponed in order to accommodate the match. Among them was Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad.

Caf announced the change in date